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Native Grasses

I am crazy about grasses for a few reasons.  One reason is that they are so distinctively different from herbaceous plants.  No rounded leaves, no petals, no branching leaf veins.  They are pure linearity and stand majestically different in a mixed garden. 

Some are stiff and upright like this very blue Canyon Prince Wild Rye (Leymus condensatus ‘Canyon Prince’).  I honestly don’t know why this grass isn’t used everywhere.  It’s an excellent way to hold onto sloping soil to stop erosion.  Under deciduous trees it funnels the leaves between the blades for easy clean up but fallen leaves won’t smother the plant, so you don’t have to be totally on top of your garden chores! 

Another wonderful local grass is Purple Three Awn (Aristida purpurea).  It is the exactly opposite of Canyon Prince Wild Rye in that it is loose and blows gently in even the slightest breeze.  It has an unusual color combination of dusky pink and wheat gold.  It is a perfect replacement for the invasive Mexican feather grass that is being planted all over right now.  Goodbye fire hazard feather grass and hello Purple Three Awn. 

I also love the ubiquitous Blue Fescue and there is no law against combining your grasses to show off their different textures and colors, so feel free to mix and match!

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